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Some brave souls were prepared to try but were thwarted by the conditions



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Hope it may help some of you to get out and enjoy the winter winds

It doesn’t take a genius to notice that we have been suffering from colder winters in the UK of late. Here on the South Coast, sea temperatures are now hitting what they did in February last year and Met Office are predicting yet more arctic conditions!

Lars Petersen (D99) has given us some advice on keeping warm. Hailing from Denmark (and sailing there all through the winter), there aren’t many people more qualified.

Is there a minimum temperature that you sail in?

Normally I would say my minimum is 5°C air temp. But I do often get excited and go out in less!

Mostly when it’s really cold like this winter where it seems to have been stuck in negative temperatures, I’ll change over to surfing and SUP to get my daily fix in ocean. It’s much easier to stay warm in these activities, mainly because you can use thick closed gloves. The hands are always the problem when windsurfing in cold weather, I personally never found a closed glove solution that I was really happy with, as you can’t really get a proper grip on the boom with thick gloves. The open palm gloves are still the best solution for me.

How long do you sail for in the cold?

On a 5°C day I have no problems sailing several hours. It is much easier staying warm these days – the wetsuits have really improved tremendously!

What is your coldest session on record?

The coldest windsurf was -5° C but I have surfed in –12 °C.

How do you keep your hands warm?

Well, as mentioned earlier that is the main issue. For windsurfing I’d rather use the open palm gloves. This provides a good grip on the boom. Then I live with the fingers getting cold now and then. It’s normal on the cold days that you’ll have to return a few times to the beach and warm up the fingers. If find that after each warm up, you tend to become better at keeping the fingers warm.

By the way, when sailing with gloves, it improves the grip a lot having a reduced diameter boom and you don’t get tired in your underarms so quickly.

Can you give us any tips on keeping the cold out?

When it comes to staying warm in real winter conditions, it’s all down to having the right wetsuit, boots and gloves. You must invest in this and get the best stuff, otherwise you really shouldn’t go out! Get a hooded 6mm suit, gloves and 5 to 7mm boots. I also use a thin thermal shorty underneath the suit.

The other trick besides having the right equipment is not to get cold before even getting in the water. Wear some really warm ski clothes during rigging and breaks, and stay out of the wind when taking breaks. If possible change to the wetsuit at home before heading to the beach, so you don’t get cold while changing.

How do you warm up again after a session?

Putting the car heater on max and make sure there’s plenty of hot water for the shower!

Any tips on drying a wetsuit?

I treat my wetsuit really well, washing it off after each session and dry it off indoor. Make sure to dry the suit before your next session, this time of year a wet and sandy suit at the bottom of your car is a nightmare!